This blog post was originally posted on April 7, 2016, and was updated on January 26, 2018.
Seville is the city that embodies everything quintessentially Spanish.
Long and hot summer nights. Feisty, foot-stomping flamenco. A controversial and bold bullfighting tradition. Buildings decorated with ceramic tiles that also flaunt a distinctly Arab flair. Tapa after tapa enjoyed over a cerveza (or three!) with friends. Andalusia’s iconic pueblos blancos (white villages) located just a stone’s throw from the city.
It’s pretty fair to say that if you are after the real Spain, a trip to Seville is the place to start! And that’s why we have put together our Ultimate Travel Guide to Seville, which is chock full of all the best things to do, eat, see, buy and beyond in this incredible Spanish city!
Photo Credit: Franek N
Top Things to do in Seville
One of Seville’s most celebrated sights is the Alcazar Palace, which started as a Moorish fortress and has evolved into the oldest Royal residence still in use in Europe. With fabulous architecture and also some great gardens to explore, it’s a must-see monument in any ultimate travel guide to Seville!
Seville is home to the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, and a visit is at the top of the list of Seville’s “must see” monuments. Witness the grandeur from the outside, experience the gothic eeriness on this inside, and also hike up 34 ramps to the top of the bell tower, La Giralda, for spectacular views of the city.
For More: Top 10 Things to See in Seville
This fantastic pavilion found in the Maria Luisa Park was built to host the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition, and its beautiful tiled buildings and boat rides around the small canal make it fun for travelers of all ages. Of course, our ultimate travel guide to Seville would include this astonishing monument.
Metropol Parasol AKA Las Setas
While a very historic city, there are also some hints of modernity in Seville. No trip to the city is complete without visiting Seville’s newest monument, Metropol Parasol, or Las Setas (the mushrooms), as it is affectionately known as by the locals. Take a look at the extraordinary architecture from ground level, then also catch the lift to the top for a unique view of the city.
See a flamenco show
When you think of an ultimate travel guide to Seville, many people immediately think of flamenco tips. Andalusia is the heart of flamenco culture, and where better to experience this incredible art form than in the capital itself. Avoid the tourist traps, and visit a place that is putting on shows of pure flamenco passion. A wonderful place to experience this is Casa de la Memoria, a cultural center dedicated to preserving the Andalusian arts that also offers flamenco classes.
Read More: Five Places To See Flamenco In Seville
Need more ideas?
Non-Touristy Things to do in Seville
The beauty of Seville is that you don’t have to go far away from the big monuments to find the “real, off the beaten path Seville”, as the historic center is home to many hidden corners. In this section of our ultimate travel guide to Seville, we share some of our favorite hidden gems with you!
Experience casual flamenco in a bar at Casa Anselma
As we say, a flamenco show in Seville is a must. But, if you don’t mind skipping the pretty dresses, head to where the locals go. For a real “flamenco in the bar” experience, visit Casa Anselma in the Triana neighborhood, which has an evening show starting around midnight – you might not see the beautiful dresses and professional dancing, but you will experience the true spirit of flamenco, as the locals enjoy it.
Explore the Macarena neighborhood
Our favorite hidden treasure to share in our ultimate travel guide to Seville is the Macarena neighborhood. Although it still forms part of the historic center of Seville, it is virtually unknown to visitors. However, the word is slowly getting out! This working-class neighborhood still holds some of its original charm and is currently reinventing itself as the artistic heart of Seville. Aside from getting lost in the back streets and taking a break in one of the many local bars in the neighborhood, you can also enjoy:
- Rompemoldes, a group of workshops on Calle San Luis where each workshop is creating their own specific art and handicrafts, some selling their goods to the public.
- The Basilica de la Macarena, a small but incredibly beautiful church in Seville, which is home to the famous Macarena Virgin.
See more: The Best Churches in Seville
Join the locals for “la merienda”
You will notice that in the late afternoon, from around 6 pm onwards, the streets fill with people, many taking their seat in the streets and squares with a coffee and something sweet in hand. This wonderful tradition is called “la merienda” and is basically Spain’s answer to afternoon tea. We love visiting Bar El Comercio during this time for our coffee and churros. Also, we love Seville’s iconic pastry shop – La Campana, which is another one not to be missed!
Sweet Spots in Seville
- The Five Best Pastry shops in Seville
- 5 Places For Churros in Seville
- The Most Unique Cafes in Seville
Hole up for the evening in a local tavern
The streets and bars of Seville become filled in the evening with people out and about, meeting with friends and family over a drink or two, and bringing the city alive in the process. What better way to feel part of the action than shunning the tourist traps and joining the local crowd in the local taverns? Start by sampling some homemade vermouth, move onto some typical tapas, and feel more sevillano with every bite.
Check out: 5 Places to Sample Vermouth in Seville
Foodie Things to do in Seville
With access to the best of everything – seafood, meats, legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables and, of course, an endless supply of fabulous Spanish ham, Seville is fast becoming a mecca for food lovers. What ultimate travel guide to Seville would be complete without tips on the best ways that food lovers can enjoy the city?
Visit a market
Seville’s produce markets are not only an interesting place to see the best of the local produce on display and for sale. They’re also a wonderful spot to get a glimpse into the local way of life, no matter how much or how little you are into food!
Don’t Miss: Local Food Markets in Seville: Our Favorites!
Sip on a glass of sherry
Food and wine go hand in hand. So, you absolutely can’t miss a glass of Seville’s favorite tipple, none other than sherry wine. But forget about the sweet stuff from Grandma’s cabinet – while we love that too, we especially love the bone dry, crisp varieties such as fino and manzanilla, especially on a hot summer’s day!
Take a Seville food tour
What better way is there to learn about a city than through the food? Join us on a Seville food tour and spend four fabulous hours rambling through the back streets of the historic center, trying local bites along the way. Also, you’ll learn about the fascinating history that created the city we know and love today.
Join a cooking class
We don’t just love eating food, we love making it too, and there are a variety of wonderful cooking classes available so you can go home with some new skills – cooking our favorite local recipes!
Take a Tapas Tour in Seville
Seville is the capital city of tapas, and what better way to experience them than having someone show you the ropes? To combine more than 2,000 years of Seville’s fabulous city with four of Seville’s best historical taverns, and of course, an unbelievable array of local foods and wines. Join us on a tapas tour for an after dark exploration of the Andalusian capital.
Find out more: Our fun and informative Tapas, Taverns & History of Seville Tour
What to eat in Seville
What to eat in Seville is almost as difficult as asking where to eat, but there are some stand out dishes that are not to be missed while visiting the city!
In a country that is made up of regional cuisine, giving each part of Spain’s its own unique flavor, ham (and pork meat in general!) is the one thing we can say unifies the country’s cuisine as a whole. But given Seville’s proximity to the nearby province of Huelva – one of the top producing areas of the famous melt-in-your-mouth acorn-fed Iberian ham, in Seville trying this ham is definitely at the top of the list.
In Seville & Andalusia, we love fried food, but the most popular of all would absolutely be fried fish (pescado frito). We love it so much that it is an important stop on our daytime food tour of Seville!
Espinacas con garbanzos
Stews are a big part of the diet in Andalusia, but one that you find in tapas bars all over Seville that is well-loved by locals is espinacas con garbanzos (spinach and chickpea stew).
Nose to tail eating is nothing new in Spain – we make use of every part of the pig, a practice that dates back to when families had one pig that they’d slaughter for almost an entire year’s worth of food. One of our favorite cuts of the Iberian pig are the cheeks. These are stewed with wine and served up in tapas bars across the city, but if you want to try an amazing version of this dish make sure you join us on our evening Tapas, Taverns & History tour.
This dish actually originates from the nearby city of Cordoba but is well loved by people all over Andalusia. This cold tomato soup is the thicker and more tomato-heavy cousin of the famous gazpacho, made simply with tomatoes, seasoned with garlic and sherry vinegar, and thickened with bread and extra virgin olive oil.
Solomillo al whiskey
Despite the non-Spanish sounding name, this is actually a very typical local dish in Seville. Pork loin is prepared with a garlic based (and whiskey!) sauce and enjoyed as a tapa across the city.
Read More about Food in Seville:
- Top 8 Must Try Dishes in Seville
- Top 10 Traditional Tapas in Seville
- 10 Delicious Kid Friendly Spanish Dishes in Seville
Where to eat in Seville
In the city that boasts over 3,000 bars and eating establishments, where to eat in Seville is a really good question! Every neighborhood in Seville boasts a whole range of options, from the traditional hole-in-the-walls bars to modern places serving up fusion tapas and interesting flavors. Here, our ultimate travel guide to Seville reveals some of our absolute favorite spots.
Traditional Tapas Bars in Seville
Often hole-in-the-wall taverns serving up typical Andalusian fare and a never-ending supply of cold Cruzcampo beer and manzanilla sherry create part of the most authentic eating experiences for visitors to Seville. Here are a few of our favorites.
Casa Morales – The icon of the second-oldest bar in Seville are the antique clay wine vats lining the back walls, but that’s just the start of the reason we love Casa Morales! Grab yourself a glass of manzanilla sherry and squeeze in at the bar with the locals (or join us on our Tapas, Taverns & History Tour and we will take you there!) Calle García de Vinuesa, 11
Alvaro Peregil – The story, the gregarious owner, the delicious local vino de naranja (orange wine) are the standouts of this little wine store turned bar that dates back to 1904. It’s also a surprisingly local joint nestled right in the touristic heart of Seville. Calle Mateos Gagos, 20
Casa Ricardo – This self-proclaimed Semana Santa (Holy Week) bar near the trendy Alameda de Hercules is quite an experience. A crowd of well-heeled locals, images of the Virgin and Jesus adorning the walls, and no menu as the plates change every day – but the Iberian Ham is always on hand and amazing! Calle Hernán Cortés, 2
Modern Tapas Bars in Seville
In the last 7 years or so, Seville’s tapas scene has undergone somewhat of an overhaul, with modern tapas bars popping up and really making their mark on Seville’s culinary scene. Once a new and interesting concept, these bars are now a dime a dozen, with many being good to average, but a few outstanding ones do remain. The outstanding ones are not to be missed by any food lover!
Mechela Restaurante – A wonderful tapas bars near the Fine Arts museum that has a delicious selection of meat, seafood, and vegetarian dishes. This is definitely one of our favorite haunts in the city! Calle Bailén, 34
Eslava – A well-loved classic, Eslava is one of the long-timers of Seville’s gourmet tapas scene. It’s got a buzzing local feel with a good mix of traditional tapas done in a beautiful way as well as creative tapas. Calle Eslava, 3
La Brunilda – This is a popular little place, and for a reason – the inventive tapas they create here are absolutely delicious and great value too. Calle Galera, 5
Best Restaurants in Seville
While Seville is arguably the tapas mecca of the world, there are also some wonderful restaurants to be found in the city. These are also great to eat at, especially if you are looking for somewhere for that special occasion.
ConTenedor – A favorite of ours, we call upon ConTenedor for birthdays, anniversaries, friends in town – any occasion worth celebrating! Expect to find amazing dishes made from local ingredients and also great service to go with it. This place is popular, so booking is always essential. Calle San Luis, 50
Antigua Abacería de San Lorenzo – This is a beautiful old-style place that is also suitable to stop in for some tapas and a drink, but the best is booking yourself a table, taking the afternoon out and sharing different raciones (large sharing plates) of food with friends over a glass of wine or three. Calle Teodosio, 53
Petite Comite – This lovely restaurant in the Arenal neighborhood oozes style, and is a great place for a nice meal in the center of the city. While the food is great, we also love the interesting desserts such as “a plate of gin and tonic”. Find out for yourself what it’s all about! Calle Dos de Mayo, 30
- Tired of Tapas? Here’s Where to Have a Nice Meal in Seville
- A Culinary Experience: Three Fine Dining Restaurants in Seville
Breakfast in Seville
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. While in Spain that might not quite be true (Spanish breakfasts are quite simple!) there are certainly some great places where you can enjoy it
La Cacherrería – This was the first cafe of this style in Seville, and still a favorite among locals and visitors alike for breakfast. Come here to enjoy delicious tostadas, homemade cakes, and also some great coffee and smoothies. Calle Regina, 14
Bar Alfalfa – We personally love the tostadas and the mix in style – get a classic tostada with Iberian ham and tomato, or try one with an international flare, like the toast with mortadella and provolone cheese. Calle Candilejo, 1
La Esquina del Arfe – This no-frills bar is the place to come for a local breakfast in the center of the city. You will find the place busy every morning with people enjoying the large breakfast tostadas before going about their day. Calle Arfe, 26
See More: Our Best Places For Breakfast in Seville
Dining by neighborhood
Here are neighborhood dining guides we’ve prepared just for you!
Where to stay in Seville
No longer the place just for the scruffy backpacker, Seville’s hostel scene has taken off in recent years. If you are looking for a place with a buzzing, social atmosphere, they might just be for you! You won’t even have to sleep in a dorm.
Who said staying in a hotel has to be expensive? Seville is filled with a range of wonderful family run budget hotels which make a homely and inexpensive option to stay in.
If your accommodation choice directly correlates to your experience in the city, then Seville’s boutique hotels are absolutely the place for you!
Our Picks: Top 5 Boutique Hotels in Seville
Sometimes the big question might be not so much the hotel, but which area of Seville to stay in. We have already done all the hard work for you in our guide to Seville’s neighborhoods.
Shopping in Seville
Seville has surprisingly a good number of shopping options available. From flamenco souvenirs to beautiful ceramics and also edible souvenirs. And the good news is, they’re all within walking distance of each other!
Day Trips from Seville
Once you have explored everything that Seville has to offer, why not take a trip outside of the city?
For serious wine lovers only! A day trip to Jerez is the best way to understand all about Seville’s favorite tipple, none other than sherry
To experience a pueblo blanco (white village) just a stone’s throw from Seville, the historic town of Carmona is the place to go. It’s a short drive from Seville and is also easily reachable by bus.
Cadiz is also a wonderful city to visit – in fact, it’s the oldest continuously habited city in Europe! With beaches both in the city and along the surrounding coastline, it’s a wonderful place to visit in summer.
Fun fact about Seville
If there is one image that visitors to Andalusia hold in their mind, it’s the sight of oranges trees lining the streets. You can also find them in the squares, even in the very center of the cities and towns. But did you know that in Seville there are the most orange trees of them all? Believe it or not, there are a total of 40,000 across the city!
Did you enjoy our ultimate travel guide to Seville? We also have plenty more amazing tips for you on our YouTube channel! Check out this informative video from local experts Jaimie and Hayley on some of the Devour Team’s favorite local spots to get a taste of what awaits you on our Devour Tours channel!